Jesse Chan is a young producer and DJ who makes music under the name Channels. He recently released “Surrounded” (ft. Kat Kennedy)
In this interview, Jesse shares his music production story…
Wobistdude: Flip us through the first few pages of Jesse Chan’s musical history book…
Jesse: I grew up listening to bands like Fall Out Boy, Linkin Park, Blink-182, Underoath, A Day to Remember and The Devil Wears Prada. Vans Warped Tour and Bamboozle had a huge impact on me—I remember thinking I could be performing on stage. When the EDM explosion came around, I tried making music similar to Avicii, Afrojack, and Kaskade.
Wobistdude: Thoughts on Trap music?
Jesse: Technically, actual trap music has been around for a while with artists like T.I. and Young Jeezy. What is now considered “trap” music is a fusion of electronic music and rap-influenced beats. This sound has come a long way since the TNGHT EP, which helped bring the bass music genre to the forefront. It’ll be interesting to see what comes next as I think the scene is becoming a bit stagnant.
Wobistdude: Who is your favorite artist right now?
Jesse: I really want to hear what Rustie is doing next. His track “Slasherr” is one of my all-time favorites and his sound in general serves a major influence in my music productions. I would say he helped pioneer the whole future bass subgenre alongside Hudson Mohawke. Also, I would like to hear what Gesaffelstein is working on as he makes very dark-sounding tracks that sort of spawned the whole “Rezz” type of sound.
Wobistdude: You know I can’t let you go on without bringing up your drum video days, how did these videos come about?
Jesse: I wanted to play the drums like Matt Greiner from August Burns Red so I practiced as much as I could every day. Once I felt good enough, I entered a drum contest through YouTube. After steadily putting out drum covers, I eventually uploaded the Asking Alexandria – Alerion video. The band’s growing success definitely contributed to that video accumulating over 100,000 views which was quite amazing since my videos never got that many plays.
Wobistdude: What’s it like for you to release a track, either on your own or through a record label?
Jesse: For a small artist like myself, self-releasing can be very difficult to market or even reach an audience, but it allows you to keep everything you make. A record label usually has a bigger following and the resources to release your track on every relevant platform. I now understand why artists can take so long to put out their music; there’s a lot that goes into music that has very little or nothing to do with music. I’ve gone through schedules misaligning, contract negotiations, and a lot of waiting. The process of submitting music to labels can take a while to receive a response. Even if your music gets picked up by a label, there can be a lot of downtime due to the label already having a long list of scheduled releases.
Wobistdude: “Flare ft. Kat Kennedy” released under Trap Nation, was your first song under the Channels name with vocals, what was it like making this collaborative track?
Jesse: I worked on the instrumental for about a year before I met Kat or even considered adding vocals. I first sent her a very rough demo and she put down a verse. We then went back and forth for a summer; she wrote the lyrics and came up with the vocal melody structure. We recorded the final take at my friend’s run-down Boston apartment on Ashford Street. There were parties and who knows what else going on in the background. At that point, I had never worked on vocals from scratch. It probably took me 30 hours of trial and error to mix the vocals the way I wanted.
Wobistdude: How has your personality influenced your music creation?
Jesse: I like to observe and I am very methodical so that’s probably why I went into music production at first. I enjoy analyzing tracks and figuring out how producers made certain sounds. Recently, I’ve been trying to bridge the gap between chill, melodic sounds and the club music that people go crazy to. For the banger “party” songs, I try to focus the track around the bass and drums. If the idea is more emotional, I put as much feeling into it as I can by making the track very melodic and warm-sounding.
Wobistdude: What is the direction that you want to take future tracks in?
Jesse: The market for most electronic genres is already quite saturated due to people following trends and creating only what is “hot” at this moment. I believe the next cool sound or subgenre is about to emerge soon, so I want to be ready for that. For now, I am taking a step back to focus on DJing more seriously.
Wobistdude: Explain your recent interest in DJing?
Jesse: DJing has been very helpful to get me out of that methodical headspace; it requires quite a different skillset than music production. It allows me to let loose and not overthink instead of obsessing over some very minor detail like in my music productions. DJing has definitely changed my approach when creating certain tracks.
Wobistdude: What’s next?
Jesse: In short, I just left Boston for NYC to find work. At the same time, I’ll be DJing more and searching for innovative tracks that may be the next cool sound.
Here is a preview of what Jesse has been working on:
“ I recently left Boston after going to BU and working for 3 years. I am now looking to move to New York City and work there. I produce music under the name Channels” – Jesse